Seattle Courant

Knowledge Is Power; Is Our Power ON?

By John Tetpon
May 10, 2009 02:05PM

Someday there won’t be any left anywhere.

So amassing world wealth and world power based on the exploitation of natural resources and building things won’t cut it anymore. Knowing more about everything than anybody else is the next economic revolution.

Which brings me to another subject for further study: If history is to repeat itself, which it often does, will we then, sometime in the future, fight over knowledge? Will a world war erupt somewhere, sometime, over who has the most knowledge and the most data? Probably.

So how could we get a head start on amassing as much data as we can? First, I’d say we find a baseline; that is doing a study on the world’s knowledge. Does China know more than we do? Does Russia? Great Britain? And what is there to know? What must we know that we do not now know? That is the big question. A whole library of books can be written on that subject.

Simplistically, we will still need the basics: Food, air, water and shelter. Countries with the most food, the most water, the best air and best shelters will always survive. For a time. But it’s probably fair to say we’re running out of all four items.

So let’s take these items one by one and try to analyze where we might be. Let’s take food production first. We all know our small family farms are a thing of the past. It’s all about big food corporations – agri-business. They own most of the farmlands in America. So they’ll make the most money on hunger-ours and the rest of the world.

Water. It is said one of the wealthiest men on Earth is buying up water rights as quickly as he can. He knows what’s up. He’ll own the most water and make the most money on that than anyone else.

Air. Experts say what we have isn’t fit to breathe. Hello?

Shelter. What we build anymore can’t withstand hurricanes and tornadoes. Another hello?

So if my thinking were correct, I would have to say that gaining and amassing more knowledge about food production should be on the very top of our list. Next, solve the water problem. If we can hardly breathe the air we depend on, how can we drink the water that comes from rain and snow? Whatever is in the air will eventually go into our rivers, lakes, streams and reservoirs.

We need to amass knowledge about the air we breathe. It is tied into all three of the latter. In order to have good food, we first need good water, good air and good shelter. But will we be able to reverse the damage we have done to our surroundings during the Industrial Revolution of the last century? That’s a world debate that continues and will continue to the final hour of our time.

So let’s find ways to survive first. Advanced nuclear power, great medical discoveries, outer inter-planetary travels, the neutralization of gravity, weapons of mass destruction, and other like endeavors can come later.

Finally, if the U.S. wants to remain a world power and continue to exert world influence, I would say it must gain the knowledge necessary to provide an abundance of food, good water, good air, and good shelter for its people. That would be job number one. Without those basics, we can do as the Romans did: Play our fiddles while our civilization disappears.